Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Top 21 Unrestricted Free Agents by Pool Points

Ilya Bryzgalov, goalie
2011 points: 86, 12th overall, 6th among goalies
2011 cap hit: $4.25 million

Already having his rights dealt to the Flyers for futures, Bryzgalov is trying to work out a deal where he can be a number one goalie on a team that may have a better chance at winning it all than the Coyotes.  According to a report on Wednesday, Bryzgalov may have worked out that deal in principle with his new club, likely signing a deal that would give him a substantial raise.

Teemu Selanne, forward
2011 points: 80, 17th overall, 8th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $3.25 million

At 40 years old, Selanne doesn't seem to be slowing down too much in his scoring production, which should mean good things for the Ducks, if he wishes to return for another season.  It sounds like it will either be signing with the Ducks or retirement for the Finnish Flash, but I think a lot of poolies wouldn't mind him returning for another year, keeping some goals in the pool.

Brad Richards, forward
2011 points: 77, 24th overall, 10th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $7.8 million

If the Dallas Stars are unable to trade Richards' rights before July 1st, then he'll be free to go to anyone without any compensation to the Stars this Summer.  This would be a giant loss for Dallas, with no real gain to Richards at all.  Sure, if Richards' rights were dealt, one team would be exclusive for a number of days, but that doesn't mean he'd have to sign there.

Alex Tanguay, forward
2011 points: 69, 40th overall, 25th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $1.7 million

Word is that the Flames are trying to re-sign Tanguay to a new deal, but money is definitely an issue.  Tanguay is looking to redeem his cap value after taking a pretty big discount to play with the Flames, thanks to a few poor years in the production category.  Tanguay has earned a raise from last season, but I don't think I would prepared to offer him too much without another good season under his belt.

Dwayne Roloson, goalie
2011 points: 58, 74th overall, 21st among goalies
2011  cap hit: $2.5 million

41-year old Roloson played some of his best hockey, leading the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Finals this Spring, but does he have enough in him to do it again and possibly for a lesser team?  We are on retirement watch for Rollie the Goalie, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he took a little bit less, just to make sure he was in consideration for the number one job again.

Tomas Vokoun, goalie
2011 points: 57, 86th overall, 22nd among goalies
2011 cap hit: $5.7 million

Everything just seems to conflict for Vokoun and his stay with the Panthers, which makes his situation somewhat interesting.  He apparently likes playing in Florida, but it never sounds like he likes playing for the Panthers.  As a goalie, playing for a rebuilding team, it has to be tough, which leads me to believe that Vokoun will go to the open market on July 1st, taking a little bit less to play for a better team.

Ville Leino, forward
2011 points: 53, 103rd overall, 76th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $800,000

Leino has developed into a pretty good depth forward in the NHL, thanks to a stop in Philadelphia, where he wasn't touted as one of the next best finds for the team's scouting staff.  Leino provided some pretty good grit for the Flyers in their Cup run of 2010 and would likely do well to find another contending team to play for.  I would expect Leino to get a fair raise wherever he goes and he'll probably go quickly, once on the market.

Erik Cole, forward
2011 points: 52, 107th overall, 79th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $2.9 million

It would be awfully strange to see Cole head anywhere else, but the 32-year old forward has the possibility of moving on from the Hurricanes come July 1st and he may be able to provide a good power forward presence to a new team.  Cole has good playoff experience and played in all 82 games for Carolina in 2011, so his presence on this list may be short-lived.

Jussi Jokinen, forward
2011 points: 52, 110th overall, 82nd among forwards
2011 cap hit: $1.7 million

Jokinen is finally developing into a consistent scoring forward in the NHL and at age 28, he may soon be able to take his scoring touches to a team that would like to give him a substantial raise from his sub-$2 million cap hit.  His raise may not be too big, but it will be sizeable enough to make a difference.  Good thing he can play in a bottom six role, just in case his scoring diminishes.

James Wisniewski, defense
2011 points: 51, 113th overall, 5th among defensemen
2011 cap hit: $3.25 million

The top defenseman heading to the open market, Wisniewski should attract a solid offer or two from around the league and will likely be overpaid for his services.  He was able to put up excellent numbers on Long Island and then the jump to Montreal only made them better, so if he was to find himself a suitor with even more offensive explosiveness, he might not be overpaid at all.

Christian Ehrhoff, defense
2011 points: 50, 121st overall, 7th among defensemen
2011 cap hit: $3.1 million

Ehrhoff's stock rose in 2011, leading the Canucks defense in scoring and if he hits the open market, he would be a very reasonable consolation prize in the Wisniewski sweepstakes, likely picking up a similar deal.  As the second best defenseman on this list, I would assume that he wouldn't last long on the market, as he was front and centre during Vancouver's run to the Cup.

Radim Vrbata, forward
2011 points: 48, 133rd overall, 98th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $3 million

Vrbata has been a consistent scorer in the NHL over the last few seasons, even on some sub-par teams, so he would definitely be a good 2nd or 3rd line scoring option for a lot of teams.  He may not be what the Coyotes need in a growing system, but in an established system, he could definitely be an asset for some secondary scoring.  He might not jump off the list right away, but there will definitely be some interest.

Brooks Laich, forward
2011 points: 48, 135th overall, 100th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $2.066 million

I would think that with the Capitals salary cap situation being what it is (pretty good), that Laich would be back in the fold with the team for the 2012 season, but exploring other options for gritty forwards may be in Washington's future, I'm not really one to say.  Laich would be a good add to a number of teams, probably more for the older teams, as he's really coming into his own as a veteran winger.

Tomas Kaberle, defense
2011 points: 47, 144th overall, 13th among defensemen
2011 cap hit: $4.25 million

After a Stanley Cup win and some nice words from Bruins management, I don't think Kaberle will make it to July 1st and the open market, as he has also stated that he may take a little less in order to stay with the contender that is the defending champions.  If Kaberle was to make it to market, he would definitely attract a lot of attention, as teams would enjoy his puck-moving abilities.

Andrew Brunette, forward
2011 points: 46, 152nd overall, 111th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $2.333 million

The 37-year old playmaker is starting to get up there in years, but he is still putting up some reasonable points, his 46 with an underwhelming Wild team should be looked at as a good season.  Brunette hasn't been thought of as a player that will put a team over the top, but he would definitely give a little bite to a team's 2nd line, likely for a bit cheaper than what he took in last season.

Brendan Morrison, forward
2011 points: 43, 178th overall, 129th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $725,000

Good on Morrison for making sure no one forgot about his scoring talents in Calgary in 2011.  Morrison was a productive centre for the Flames and he has definitely earned himself a look or two from other teams who are shopping for a 2nd line centre, who has a decent two-way game.  Morrison should have a few years left in him, but look for a 1-year deal, wherever he lands this Summer.

Tomas Kopecky, forward
2011 points: 42, 181st overall, 131st among forwards
2011 cap hit: $1.2 million

Kopecky was turning into a poor man's Tomas Holmstrom in the latter parts of the regular season and early round of the playoffs, learning to refine his game for his size and strength.  He posted a good deal of points in the regular season, a total that may get him drafted in this Fall's hockey pool draft, especially if he signs with a very good offensive squad in the off-season.

Tim Connolly, forward
2011 points: 42, 184th overall, 134th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $4.5 million

The oft-injured forward, Connolly, still has plenty of talent in those soft hands of his, but he is just such a risk, especially to poolies, when it comes to his health.  I would be mildly surprised if Connolly received the same kind of money for his inconsistent services, but at only 30 years of age, he still has time to put some full seasons together and make a team's investment in him worth while.

Michael Ryder, forward
2011 points: 41, 190th overall, 139th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $4 million

Another player from the Bruins' Cup winning run hits the list, as one of only a couple free agents hitting the market from the team.  Ryder didn't have a bad season, 18 goals is nothing to sneeze at, but for a $4 million cap hit, they may have been a bit pricey this season.  It might be time for Ryder to start thinking about a pay cut at 31 years old, that way, he may have a few more suitors approach him with offers.

Simon Gagne, forward
2011 points: 40, 197th overall, 146th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $5.25 million

A tough, injury-filled season for Gagne in Tampa in 2011 may restrict his asking price for the 2012 season, which may make him into a pretty good bargain this Summer.  If his number remains the same at over $5 million, Gagne may make a good signing for a team that is desperately seeking the salary cap floor, because he may not make a good signing for a contending team at that price.

Eric Belanger, forward
2011 points: 40, 198th overall, 147th among forwards
2011 cap hit: $750,000

Belanger turned out to be a pretty good signing by the Coyotes for the 2011 season, getting a good bang for their buck.  Personally, I'm a little surprised that he hasn't re-signed with the club already, as some kind of reward for doing a great job.  Belanger would be considered to be more of a 2nd/3rd line centre, probably more 3rd on most contenders and an asking price of $1 million may not be out of the question.

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